By Guelda Voien
Global climate change put the brakes on that celebrated preamble to summer in Los Angeles – the inaugural screening at Hollywood Forever cemetery – on Saturday as only the most loyal moviegoers made it out for the lost Billy Wilder film Ace in the Hole. Generally, young Angelenos are rabid for the carefully selected classics screened in the classic setting, but temperatures in the 50’s and earlier rain deflated much of the usual enthusiasm.
The weekly L. A. event, now in it’s seventh year, kicked off on Memorial Day weekend, a fitting time for a cemetery-based occasion. But no one seemed cognizant of the holiday’s meaning, as couples huddled on technology-forward lawn chairs, swilling wine from glasses, – not plastic cups – lit candles and ate hummus in the Hollywood Forever ritual.
The night's film, Ace in the Hole, a seldom seen Billy Wilder movie, was shelved for decades because Paramount thought it too dark for release in 1951. In the movie, a young Kirk Douglas orchestrates perhaps the original media circus around a story he helped construct: a man buried by a cave-in at a New Mexico mineshaft. The film's dark tone was appreciated by the loyal contingent, who lapped up the comically stark moral dichotomies of 1950’s cinema with all the irony you’d expect of this demographic.
The pre-game, also restrained due to weather, involved a charming DJ, billing himself only as “Carlos.” He spun abstruse sounds, which at times sounded like “cats were being killed,” according to Danielle O'Terry, 24, of Hollywood.
Recondite music aside, the event feels less like scruffy kids from Echo Park drinking Charles Shaw, and more like couples from Sherman Oaks who made the long schlep over the hills for a cheap, trendy date.
The movie selection, however, has not faltered. This season brings other exciting and sometimes previously overlooked films to Cinespia, and will feature Sunday evening screenings as well. Coming weeks promise Blake Edwards' The Party, starring Peter Sellers, William Powell in the depression-era comedy My Man Godfrey, and The Hunger. If you ever wanted to watch early-80s era Bauhaus perform while drinking in a graveyard, here's your chance.
More movies will be announced in the coming weeks on their website.
I would say ‘don’t miss next week!’ but I’m sure as soon as it heats up, this event will be a logistical nightmare to attend. That said, if it rains, head to the cemetery asap, great movies and BYOB never get old, regardless of the music, the predictable peer group or the weather.
(Projection of a Japanese version of the poster for Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye)
Photos and text by Guelda Voien